Casino union decries Revel's use of part-timers

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - September 5, 2013

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union says Revel is using part-time workers at twice the city's average. In a letter sent Thursday to state Labor Commissioner Harold Wirths, the union says nearly 29 percent of the 3,388 workers Revel employed as of the start of August were part-timers.

The union has been battling the largely non-union Revel over its labor policies since before it opened in 2012.

A Local 54 spokesman said the union wants to make state officials aware of Revel's labor policies, particularly in light of state aid that helped the struggling casino to open, including a $2.6 million grant from the Labor department.

Revel officials declined to comment on their staffing levels.

"Revel owes a debt to New Jersey," union president Bob McDevitt wrote. "Without generous subsidies, Revel would not have been built. In total, Revel received promises of over $300 million in aid from New Jersey, including a $2.6 million grant from the NJ Department of Labor."

McDevitt said "Revel had already set a bad precedent in Atlantic City" by setting term limits of four to five years for most customer service employees including dealers, beverage servers and others in close contact with customers.

The casino said it would require employees to re-apply for those jobs after their term limits expired to guard against them becoming complacent in their dealings with customers.

McDevitt said Revel has been ramping up its use of part-time employees since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in March, a process that was completed in May. While the city's average has remained between 12 to 13 percent, Revel's use of part-timers has reached 29 percent in the casino's most recent filings to the state Casino Control Commission, as of Aug. 1.

Only the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, with 6,146 employees, had more part-time employees than Revel, although the Borgata's percentage of part-timers is just under 21 percent.

Revel has said it continues to look for ways to reduce expenses and become profitable following its emergence from bankruptcy. It has laid off employees this year and last month ended company contributions to employee 401k accounts.

Its bankruptcy case enabled it to wipe away $1.2 billion of its $1.5 billion in debt, in return for granting lenders an 82 percent ownership stake. For the first six months of this year, Revel's operating loss widened to $81.6 million, compared with a loss of $35.1 million in the same period last year.

It has remained mired near the bottom of Atlantic City's 12 casinos in terms of the amount of money won from gamblers each month.

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